How to Cut Up a T-Shirt and Make It Cute?

Are you bored of wearing those same old t-shirts? Cut them up and give them a new look!

It is completely understandable if you have been feeling bored of wearing those same t-shirts time and again. But instead of throwing them away, you can give them a new leash of life. All you need to do is to cut up your t-shirts at all the right places. 

And if you are not sure where or how to cut up those t-shirts, here is a brief guide to help you in that regard. So, read on and start cutting up!

There are seven ways to cut up your t-shirt and make something cute from it. You can make a V-neck cut, cropped cut, one-shoulder cut, sleeveless cut, distressed cut, fish gills cut, and a neckline weave.

The simple idea is to lay out the t-shirt over a flat surface before cutting and stretching it as necessary. Also, make sure that the cut you make on both sides are perfectly symmetrical for a clean look.

Making A V-neck Cut

The easiest way to create a V-neck is to cut up your t-shirt from its neckline. For this particular style, you will have to leave that trim on the t-shirt collar. Then, start cutting the part underneath such that you have a choker effect. Also, you can choose to make this cut deeper or wider based on how deep you want the V to go.

  • Turn your t-shirt out and put it over a flat surface, while making sure that the front faces up.
  • Take your pen for marking the middle of the collar, and create a horizontal cut below it.
  • Go on cutting until the desired width is achieved and the cut looks symmetrical, before vertically cutting it down.
  • Then, diagonally cut from the ends of that horizontal cut to reach the bottom of the vertical line. If all the steps are followed right, you would get a nice little triangle right below the crew collar.
  • Finally, flip your t-shirt around once more to see where the triangle fits. You can deepen or widen the triangle based on your preference.
  • Do not forget to stretch the sides out after cutting such that the fabric smoothes out.

The Classic Cropped Cut

The cropped cut is one of the classics, and it is an easy fix for almost any t-shirt that you want to shorten, either by a lot or a little. So, you can make the t-shirt as cropped as you need.

  • Lay your t-shirt on an even surface and smooth that out completely.
  • Measure where the new hem should be according to you. In general, the cut has to be a few inches below the graphic in case of the graphic t-shirts.
  • Take the measuring tape and a pen for marking on both the sides to make sure that you cut it straight
  • Start by cutting on a side and ensure that you are in line with the other mark
  • After cutting off, stretch the new hem using your fingers such that you get a worn-in effect.

Though it is optional, in case your sleeves feel too bulky, you can cut them trim off or shorten them slightly.

The One-Shoulder Off T-Shirt

The simplest cut and an asymmetrical look can give your t-shirt more edge. As the look should be even, do not forget to repeat those steps on the opposite side for that cold-shoulder look. It’s super easy to make.

  • Turn your t-shirt out and put it over a flat surface, while making sure that the front faces up.
  • Pick a side before starting a vertical cut that is parallel to that collar through both the back and front fabric
  • Keep going about two inches right around the collar
  • Then, form a triangle by cutting diagonally to the sleeve’s corner
  • Flip this one-shoulder to the back to get one uncut piece right by the collar
  • Trim this particular part by following the curve of the previous cut right up to where the collar starts. After this, snip off the fabric in a triangular shape.
  • After cutting off, stretch the fabric using your fingers such that you get a worn-in effect.
  • You can repeat the steps on that other side to get a cold-shoulder look

The Sleeveless T-shirt

The method is almost the same as the previous one, but there will be no sleeves this time. Though the idea is quite self-explanatory, let’s explain this further for a bit more clarity. It would be a good idea to wear a nice bralette below in case the sleeveless part dips down a bit on both the sides.

  • Turn your t-shirt out and put it over a flat surface, while making sure that the front faces up.
  • Cut right across where the new hem needs to be
  • Take one sleeve and cut horizontally before stopping at the shoulder seam
  • Follow the same seam but still leave it on, and go downward until you reach the armpit.
  • Flip this sleeve over and keep on cutting parallel right along the seam until that entire sleeve completely comes off.
  • Repeat the process on the other side
  • Stretch the fabric using your fingers such that you get a clean finish.

The Distressed Cut And Cap Sleeves

So, this is not as simple as the rest of the techniques you learnt about before. However, the end result is pretty cool and cute to look at, which means it’s worth giving a try. 

Now, capped sleeves are pretty easy to make if you are able to stick to just diagonal lines. However, if you are confident about your creativity, you can make cuts at the sides, neckline, and the bottom for a more interesting look.

  • Turn your t-shirt out and put it over a flat surface
  • Take the armpit of a sleeve, and use the scissors for cutting one diagonal line towards the right. Make sure that the line goes through both the back and front of your fabric.
  • After the piece is cut off, line that up with that sleeve on the opposite side. It will help you in making sure that they are absolutely symmetrical. Also, follow the same pattern with those scissors to cap this sleeve.
  • If you want to make some distressed parts, cut lines of any length where you want such details to show up.
  • After you are done cutting, stretch out the edges with your fingers to make them wider. Now, do not stop yourself from giving a good pull. Your cuts will look less like distressed details and more like holes if you do not pull it enough.

In this case, you can also crop the t-shirt using the second method discussed above.

Make Slits At The Back Or Sides

You can make slits or ‘fish gills’ at both the sides of your t-shirt by just cutting evenly spaced horizontal strips. Also, you can get the same look by creating fish gills at the back of your t-shirt.

  • Stretch out those slits after you are done with cutting to let the fabric slightly relax and roll up. Moreover, everywhere you make slits gets an additional stretch in that fabric. Thus, it is a good way to make a tighter t-shirt fit you better.
  • You can also choose to make vertical slits only to the inside of the back or front of the neckline to divert the attention to those areas. You will even get a bit of additional stretch in those parts.

Creating A Neckline Weave With Slits

You need to cut a couple of vertical slits right around the t-shirt collar to get a neckline weave. Given below are the steps you need to follow to get this done:

  • Cut smaller slits all around the collar band of your t-shirt to make a woven pattern. Also, ensure that all the cuts are spaced evenly and appear perpendicular to your neckline.
  • Next, pull the second part of the fabric right through the first one. Then, pick up the fabric piece between those first cuts you made. Create a loop by pulling the second fabric piece over and under the first piece.
  • You will have to weave every piece through the loop right before it. So, take that third fabric piece and pull it right under and up over the loop made with the previous two pieces. Keep pulling the next piece through the present loop until you reach the end.
  • Now, when you are at the end, get the loop cut in half. Securely tie the pieces right to the end of the weaved fabric to get it secured.

Wrapping up

You can cut up your t-shirts following any of the methods mentioned above, and the result will be really cute. T-shirts are made of jersey material, so they do not fray. So, there is no need to worry about that.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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